Using social media to promote a brand or company has become something businesses incorporate in their every day operations. The use of Facebook and Twitter is nothing new involving businesses to consumers but what about in the business to business (B2B) environment? This is a different concept. B2B companies are not trying to convert potential consumers into customers, instead they are trying to convince other companies to buy their products or use their services.

So how does social media for B2B companies actually work? Here are four ingredients that should be in a company’s B2B social media strategy:

# 1: Build a reputation of expertise
Why would a business buy from you if you don’t know what you are talking about? The implementation of a blog has a big impact on how knowledgeable you are. While a B2B blog may not have many followers, it still will impact decisions of your customers. For example, if a potential customer comes to your company’s website and sees an active blog with insightful posts on your product or service benefits or industry knowledge, they may be interested in coming to your business for their needs. Having knowledge and expertise shows credibility.

# 2: Research your customers
Social media is no longer just a communication tool, but a research tool as well. A vast amount of data is produced every day on social networks and blogs which can be used to learn a variety of things such as current trends, customer profiles, and even competitor information. The ability to know what your customers are saying and what your customers’ customers are saying can help you be one step ahead and give you a competitive advantage.

# 3: Increase networking
A business should always be working to gain connections and build relationships with other businesses and potential customers. The use of social media is a great way to increase networking for your business, because you never know when a contact can turn into a customer or an advocate for your business. There are many tools that can be used to network using social media. A new social media site seems to surface every day. The options are endless.

# 4: Learn from others
Social media is also a learning tool. Every business should want to learn more about their industry, competitors, trends, and anything else that pertains to business. Social networks are filled with useful information, the only effort needed is to actually look for it. Blogs and publications that relate to your industry are filled with information. Or you can even connect with people who comment on your own blog. Twitter is a great place to follow business leaders and learn from them. There is so much useful information on the web. The only effort needed is to take the time to find it.

B2B social media is all about networking and listening. Although we are more used to seeing B2C social media, businesses should not underestimate the power it has. Social media is evolving every day and business should take advantage of its benefits.

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